Listening to some Nigerian radio stations can either leave one permanently befuddled or just plain angry all the time. The latter is what happens to me mostly, so I stopped listening to most radio stations for some time. The television stations are not any better. The cause of one’s linear anguish is not hard to find. Confusing accents of the presenters! Yes, one cannot really tell if the presenters on radio and television are from Miami, Manchester or Mushin or if they are just a bunch of clueless upstarts mouthing words which seem to make them happy but leaves the listener with a terrible ‘earache’.
Tracing the history of radio and television presentation in Nigeria, who can ever forget the glorious days and diction of Soni Irabor, Jim Lawson Madueke, Bimbo Oloyede, Tony Abolo, Donald Everedjo, Sienne All-Well Brown, Ruth Benemesia Opia, Lola Alakija, John Momoh, Silver Oforgu and so many other articulate and fantastic presenters who shaped the entertainment industry with their style and panache of presentation?
What these names have in common is a clear and distinct presentation style with a pleasant-sounding smattering of perfect Queens English and intonations, mixed with the distinct mother-tongue of the personalities ( if you will) . These guys made millions of people shape up their articulation. We wanted to talk like them, to present like them, in the very clear and African-tinged intonations they had. We loved them and still do.
Being a former colony of Britain, it was only natural that our Spoken English as citizens of Nigeria, had to be a bit uppity and middle class even when many of us were of a lower rung in the society ladder. But that helped many people aspire to change their destinies in their chosen fields.
Sadly, in the mid-nineties, the sweeping American culture crept into our mainstream radio and things changed, albeit horribly. Before we knew it, the ‘Yo, Yo, Yo!’ presenters hit the airwaves. Sounding very American ( and most times Ghetto Americanese too) became the fad. So, the beautiful accents we have as Africans just disappeared with the ‘dash monkey banana’ borrowed accents.
Almost every Presenter came on air sounding like poor imitations of Hollywood Black Gangsters or rap artistes. These days, you just have to strain your ears to hear anything they say on air. Words like ‘alright’ has given way to ‘aight!’ and so many examples. It’s not so much the fake accents that pisses me off but the lack of a true identity by these presenters! Some are confused and don’t even know if the accent they speak with are American or British or just a horrible cacophony of both. All these ‘gonna, wanna, burra, berra’ Presenters! Una nor go kill person.
I have visited South Africa a few times and one of the things I like about their Presenters on radio and television is the NATURALNESS. The Black South African Presenters don’t attempt to hide their MOTHER-TONGUE accents with the English Language. In fact, it makes them so distinct and wonderful on air. I like Supersports Presenters on DSTV from SA like Thomas Mlambo and even the Ivorian Football Analyst ( can’t remember his name now). You feel so at ease with them.
You hear them. ( I must also commend Charles Anazodo and Praise and the female presenter on Supersports Nigeria. They are superb in their presentation). And that is not to say that we don’t have presenters in Nigeria at present who are superb. We do have but they seem to be in a minority compared with the horde of fake- accented elephants who have assailed the Nigerian airwaves. Some of them have so perfected the art of ‘forming’ so well that they can’t even pronounce Nigerian names at all on air!’Okoro Feeling Funky’ jockeys! As Basket Mouth the comedian would say ,’Their Father!’
Omgz!!!! I cant stop laughing….omo see lambasting now chei !!. Charles Novia ehn is such a funny man…